Not much thinking going on at The Thinking Moms’ Revolution

questioning girl

George Orwell introduced the concept of “doublespeak” in his masterpiece 1984.

Doublespeak is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words… It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (e.g., “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” …

They believe themselves to be educated though most of them are dumb as rocks.

The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), a website and Facebook page, is an example of doublespeak. There’s not much thinking going on at The Thinking Moms’ Revolution. Just as websites that include “truth” in the name are generally lying, the The Thinking Moms’ Revolution is actually about feeling, not thinking. The anonymous authors of site “feel” that vaccines cause autism despite the fact that there’s copious scientific evidence proving that they don’t; they “feel” that breastmilk is the elixir of life, despite the fact that in industrialized countries the benefits of breastfeeding are trivial; they “feel” that they are educated despite the fact that most of them are dumb as rocks.

Consider yesterday’s Facebook post about me:

We’ve known for quite a while that Amy Tuteur has gone utterly off the so-called “skeptical” deepend, but this is beyond the pale, even for her:

“Therefore, it is a thousand times more important to promote vaccination than to promote breastfeeding. No mother would refuse to do it if she only understood the benefits and got the proper support. That’s why I propose an immediate overhaul of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to promote vaccination instead of breastfeeding.”

We have no qualms in calling this piece utter bullshit. In today’s era, your child is FAR more likely to be healthy if you breastfeed and don’t vaccinate at all than if you vaccinate on the CDC schedule and don’t breastfeed. Of course, that is an extremely unpopular view at the increasingly corrupt CDC, and while anecdotal evidence abounds, the science to support is currently scant but starting to accrue.
I can’t wait till the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study from Dr. Paul Thomas’s practice is published. He promotes a modified vaccine schedule within his own practice, and among those children who were vaccinated on that schedule there is no autism. However, early analysis is showing that the fully unvaccinated children in his practice are by far the healthiest. — Prof

LOOK BEYOND THE HEADLINES. #parentsdothework

I will give the anonymous Prof credit for one thing. When I challenged her, she did not delete my comments. That’s quite unusual in the world of pseudoscience since the last thing quacks want is for readers to get information that hasn’t been vetted for ideological purity.

Beyond that, the post and subsequent comments are remarkable advertisement for the ignorance of science, statistics and even basic logic that characterizes the site.

TMR was quoting a recent post on The Skeptical OB, Vaccination is far more baby friendly than breastfeeding:

There’s a simple thing that every mother can do to keep her baby as healthy as possible. That’s why we should have a ten step hospital based program to support it.

No, it’s not breastfeeding; it’s vaccination, which saves a thousand times more lives in practice than breastfeeding ever could in theory.”

That blew Prof’s mind even though it is glaringly obvious if you think about it for more the 5 seconds. For most of human existence all babies were breastfed and mortality from infectious diseases was astronomical. The incidence of those disease dropped precipitously when vaccines were introduced.

Prof insists, “In today’s era, your child is FAR more likely to be healthy if you breastfeed and don’t vaccinate at all than if you vaccinate on the CDC schedule and don’t breastfeed.” is pure nonsense. She just made it up to reflect what she “feels.”

1. The scientific evidence shows us the opposite of Prof’s claim. This CDC chart, created prior to the rise of the anti-vax movement, makes the case in spectacular terms.

img_1553

The baseline 20th Century mortality occurred at a time when nearly all babies were breastfed. Obviously breastfeeding doesn’t have much of a protective effect against these disease. Consider that most mothers in the early 20th Century had survived most of these diseases and therefore had acquired natural immunity. Yet whatever natural immunity they had acquired either could not be transmitted through breastmilk (it passes through the placenta) or was ineffective at preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.

2. No, the observed declines of vaccine preventable diseases did not occur in response to the technology of improved sanitation and clean water.

If sanitation and water purification were responsible for the majority of the decline in deaths we would see the incidence of individual vaccine preventable diseases falling in parallel with each other. But that’s not what we see at all. The incidence of an individual disease declines precipitously in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the vaccine.

3. A TMR reader posted these graphs taken from an anti-vax quack book claiming that the death rate of vaccine preventable diseases began to decline in the US prior to the introduction of vaccines.

img_1556

Of course the death rate began to decline; antibiotics and better medical care were introduced.

Keep in mind that death rate and incidence, though related, are not the same thing. Vaccination dramatically reduces the incidence of disease, which, not surprisingly reduces the death rate. Better medical care can also reduce the death rate but has little impact on the incidence. Medical care can prevent a child dying from a vaccine preventable disease; the appropriate vaccine can wipe the disease from the population altogether.

Ironically, these graphs also illustrate that breastfeeding played no role in the decline of vaccine preventable diseases. In 1900 nearly all babies were breastfed; by 1970 American breastfeeding rates were less than 25%. The death rates of these disease declined precipitously nearly in parallel with the decline in breastfeeding.

4. Many TMR readers have trouble with elementary logic. People made claims about individual vaccines though we were discussing vaccines in the aggregate. People posted papers that suggest breastfeeding “might” do this or that without realizing that such papers aren’t proof of anything. Someone posted an article from what appears to be a pay for play journal, paid for by an anti-vax organization.

At no point did anyone post any data that showed breastfeeding had any impact on the incidence of or death rates from vaccine preventable diseases.

Indeed, Prof tried desperately to backpedal to cover the fact that she could find even a shred of evidence for her claim.

No one on this thread is discussing a particular scientific point, Amy, therefore there is no need to quote “relevant” studies…

Of course there’s a need to quote scientific studies if you are actually promoting thinking about the topic, but there’s precious little thinking going on at TMR.

  • Amy

    Oooh, one of your detractors has a bunch of links and videos on her page decrying “statism” and government overreach…..and voted for the NDP (she’s Canadian).

    The NDP are the furthest left of all of the Canadian political parties, and practically socialist. Someone really ought to tell her.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I’d say the Green Party is farther but yes, the NDP are very left.

      • CanDoc

        Interestingly, the Greens are fiscally much closer to the Conservatives, but environmentally and socially very liberal. (I’m amazed they haven’t amassed a huge following given that combination of policies.)

        • Jules B

          I often find myself wanting to vote Green for those reasons, but I don’t want to toss away my vote, either…

  • Heather

    I develop vaccines for a living. Specifically, I am a vaccine toxicologist. I see the “worst” that can happen (that is to say, systemic but short-lived inflammatory changes when we way over-dose with an adjuvant) and I make everyone in my family get their vaccines. We are about to welcome my first niece into the family and I am so proud that every single person in our family went out and got their flu vaccine and TDaP booster, including my SIL who is hopefully happily passing all sorts of maternal IgG1 across that placenta.
    My vaccine work is for children in developing countries. Despite the fact every mother in these regions probably spent most of their childhood getting diarrhea and pneumonia and have a measurable immune response to those bacteria/viruses, and that they almost all exclusively breastfeed because formula is costly, those are still the top killers of children under 5, nevermind the long term sequelae of repeat infections such as malnutrition, growth stinging, and poor intellectual development.
    These women speak from such a place of privilege that it’s obscene. There is no difference between what they are saying and a statement like “why should we pay for a city bus system? Everyone *I* know has a car”

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      …i’ve actually heard a variation of the last sentence; set them staight

      • Gæst

        I get to be the person who says “I don’t have a car.”

        • N

          And we are probably the funniest people in the world. We have 2 cars and prefer the bus and train whenever possible, even to go to work.

        • Amazed

          *Waves hand* Admittedly, that’s because I don’t really need one but still. I use the underground and the feetbus for distances shorter than, say, 2 miles. but still

          • Gæst

            I would really like to have one again, because getting two children to doctor’s appointments and things is a real hassle, plus I rely on getting most of our food and other needs delivered because I have some physical limitations and not a lot of time for running all over town. But it’s just not in the budget. I am privileged in many ways, so I look like someone who would of course have a car if she wanted one. I am glad that my carbon footprint is lower as the result of not having a car, but I hate when people assume everyone’s life is just like theirs.

          • Amazed

            It doesn’t even matter what everyone’s life is. You don’t want to pay for public transport because everyone you know has a car? Great. Why, pray tell, should I pay for public schools and such when I don’t have kids to use it?

            Of course, that’s different. With them, it always is. And it’s always about them. Like that homebirther in the snake pit, aka mothering dot com who bragged that should there be an emergency, she’d transfer for a c-section and she’d get to bump another emergency because they wouldn’t start a c-section that was not absolutely crash until they saw her and made sure she wouldn’t need the OR immediately.

          • Sean Jungian

            Not to mention paying for the roads, highways, bridges, and upkeep of same that your car travels along.

          • Amazed

            Oh yes, that, too.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Ha–except the real extremists don’t want to pay for public schools either–why should they, when they homeschool or send their kids to Waldorf schools or whatever?

            The stereotype of anti-vaxxers is that they are all a bunch of lefty tree-huggers who went to far but a lot of them are actually pretty right-wing–of the radical libertarian variety. And their lack of concern for herd immunity fits right in with their general worldview.

          • RudyTooty

            Don’t forget unschooling too, if you really want to talk about obscene privilege.

          • Heather

            yes, this has been my experience. I feel like I’ve been able to convince a lot of granola moms that vaccines are actually a great way to protect their kid that relies on their naturally developed immune system vs. having to treat with pharmaceuticals later. This does not work on the right wing set.

          • FallsAngel

            Anti-vaxism is everywhere on the political continuum. I worked “in the trenches” so to speak for 45 years, and just when I thought I’d seen it all, I’d see something new re: anti-vaxism.

          • BeatriceC

            We have extras. Want one? More seriously, while MrC and I put maybe 10,000 miles on both of our regular “daily” cars each year combined, he has a small classic car and motorcycle collection. A number of years ago the Buick (1960) got hit by a car at a car show where he was showing it, causing a huge dent in the passenger side, and all three classic vehicles got parked and haven’t been taken out since (the other two are a 1962 Austin-Healey and a 1958 Harley). He also has a 2006 BMW motorcycle of some sort, but the drive shaft fell off while he was driving it not too long ago, and while the parts to fix it are in my freaking living room, it’s still not fixed.

            All that to say, we are the opposite. We have vehicles running out our ears and rarely drive them. I think the last time I took my car out was Sunday. The last time MrC drove anywhere was Saturday. The grocery store is a mile away, so when the weather is nice and I’m not buying a huge amount of stuff, I like to walk. Besides doctors’ appointments for the kids, that’s the place I go most often.

          • Gæst

            I could pay for some sort of used car if that was the only expense – it’s the ongoing costs of insurance, parking (either tickets or a space, because I’m sure to forget to move a car for street parking sometimes), gas, inspections, and maintenance/repairs that put it out of reach. I hope someday I can afford one again. Public transportation is great, but it limits where you can go.

          • BeatriceC

            Yeah, the insurance alone on the inhabitants of our garage is insane. Since we’re not planning on taking any of them out any time soon, we have them in “planned non-operation”, which reduces the registration fees, but insuring classic cars isn’t cheap. We’ve actually talked about storing the AH at a local car museum (they’re interested) because that would reduce the insurance cost on that by a substantial amount.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          i just got my 1st the last week in July. Someone anonymously gave us a check for that purpose. i still think like a pedestrian

    • Heidi

      Thank you for your work!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      These women speak from such a place of privilege that it’s obscene.
      There is no difference between what they are saying and a statement like
      “why should we pay for a city bus system? Everyone *I* know has a car”

      “Let them eat cake!”

    • RudyTooty

      Obscene privilege. Isn’t that the truth?

      Maybe the objective, when ‘conversing’ with these ‘thinking’ moms would be to help them see their own privilege instead of making a factual argument. Because they appear to be immune to facts & evidence.

      I want to believe that there is a way to cross the divide. I really do. Is that too Pollyannaish of me?

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Your last paragraph is so spot on. It all comes down to a profound lack of civic-mindedness or any concern for those outside of one’s own small world. The fact that American society is so obsessively individualistic is, I think, a major challenges to vaccine advocates. A lot of people here are pretty hostile to the idea that they should be compelled to do anything for the good of the collective. The very concept of “herd immunity” flies in the face of what a lot of people would like to believe, which is that everyone is their own individual island and that nobody is responsible for anyone but themselves. The idea that our choices have implications for others and for society at large is a tough sell.

      Thank you for your work.

      • Heather

        it’s my pleasure. I love this work.
        I really fear that these messages – lies – about vaccines being dangerous will continue to influence parents in endemic countries and we’ll see vaccination rates drop off. Children will die in droves. The internet makes this so easy and people everywhere are online these days.

    • Sue

      So, when the anti-vaxers say “do your own research”, you are one of those rare people who actually DOES!

      • Heather

        Then they call me a heartless baby killer, which is just heart warming.

        • shay simmons

          And when you point out their mistakes, you’re a bully.

          • Heather

            and a shill!
            a shill raking in the big bucks working for a charity

          • shay simmons

            Doesn’t matter, you’re still part of the MEDICAL MAFIA.

          • EEJIT

            Is that you Ron?

          • shay simmons

            Ooog. Now I have to go shower.

          • EEJIT

            Sorry mate

      • sdsures

        They’re really not prepared for someone to actually call them on their bullshit with evidence and hard educational training.

    • Stacy Knuth

      I was exposed to pertussis from a student at my school, but my doctor doesn’t feel comfortable giving a TDaP booster to a 33yr old who had a seizure after a DTP booster in 1985 at 18mos old. I’ve not had a booster since. Is there a good study that has been done about the true risk of reaction with the acellular version? I know that the old DTP had something like a 1/1500 risk of seizures, but I wouldn’t mind a booster if the relative risk was low. I don’t have any immune disorders or any health issues of any kind. Figured I’d at least ask. . .

      • Heather

        So, meta analyses of children who had seizures following DTP or measles vaccines revealed no correlation between having a seizure and being at risk for a subsequent seizure (Barlow et al, 2001). The DTP is a whole cell vaccine for the pertussis component and because B. pertussis is gram negative, which means they have lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that makes up the cell wall, it is a more reactogenic vaccine in some people. The acellular pertussis vaccine is comprised of conserved antigens–a toxoid and usually 3 different protein antigens and no LPS. It is not associated with febrile seizures like the whole cell (plus those are kind of a kid thing).
        I would talk again with your doctor. Boostrix and Adacel are the two adult vaccine choices and they are pretty similar in safety and efficacy. Boostrix has a broader age range and I think more US pharmacies will have it in stock.

        • yay_vaccines

          You’re amazing. I didn’t understand a damn word you just said, which is why I’m staunchly pro-vaccine (seriously, I’ve lost friends over this issue). Thank you for all you do to help the children of the world!

          • Heather

            this is kind of the problem, I think. I should be better about writing more clearly. What I was trying to say above is that a group looked at a bunch of studies that followed kids after vaccination with these vaccines and analyzed whether those kids that had a febrile seizure (that is, a seizure associated with or caused by a high fever) had one again after getting another vaccine or just in general (like with illness) to see if having one after a vaccination caused it to happen again. They were able to conclude that there was not an increased risk.
            Pertussis is whooping cough and Bordetella pertussis is the species of bacteria that causes this illness.
            Lipopolysaccharide (also called LPS) is a chemical made by these bacteria that is essentially fats and sugars that protect the cell from its environment. We vaccinate with this because it’s right on the outside of the cell and easy for your immune system to “see.” Your body also has evolved to realize that LPS in your blood stream is bad news so it goes a little haywire and raises your temperature. In some children high temperatures lead to seizures. These seizures are scary for families to witness, but generally do not have a long term effect on health.
            The adult booster tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine doesn’t have LPS in it at all, so the risk is a lot lower of getting a high fever. You might get a higher temperature and feel generally ill for a day after a vaccine because your immune system is responding to the vaccine. A lot of the reason we feel bad when we’re sick is actually from our body fighting the infection vs. a direct cause of the infection.
            I hope this helps a little in case you want to know more. I obviously love talking about this stuff and am completely procrastinating on this paper I should be writing…

    • CSN0116

      I want to be you when I grow up. You are so cool.
      If you don’t mind sharing, what was your series of education? Or what path do most people in your field follow?

      • Heather

        Haha thanks? Just kind of ended up here by accident. I graduated with a BS in animal sciences from Ohio State and fell into a job doing toxicology research for several years. Eventually I went back to school to get a MS in Biotechnology/MBA from Johns Hopkins and got the great chance to be mentored by a wonderful board certified toxicologist at the consulting firm I worked at while getting my masters. I got into vaccines working on some HIV vaccine manufacturing and testing for NIH and then moved to my current organization where I started with Enteric vaccines and now work on a huge portfolio of cool projects.
        Most people get a PhD in toxicology or a similar field. Immunology training helps too. I’m kind of a freak being just at the masters level. That said, it took me nearly 15 years to get here and I always have so much more to learn.

        • CSN0116

          What an awesome, rewarding career. I need to shake things up. I’m bored. Thank you for the info!

        • sdsures

          Sounds fantastic!

    • shay simmons

      There is no difference between what they are saying and a statement like “why should we pay for a city bus system? Everyone *I* know has a car”

      THIS.

  • Amazed

    I just had a look at the thread containing this insanity. I wanted to reach through the monitor and shake this self-conceited asshole, the so-called Prof. What got me was her complacent claim that tetanus was so rare in the USA. Yes, it is, because people vaccinate, you dumb cow!

    I get it that people dislike the establishment. I get it that “side effects” sound scary. But involve your fucking brains, damn it! Learn percentages, at least!

    • maidmarian555

      I think that’s a massive part of the problem. There were an alarming amount of parachuters on that thread who clearly have next to no reading comprehension or basic maths skills. It’s a fairly damning indictment of education in English-speaking countries that so many people are finishing school without these basic skills or the ability to think critically. You don’t need to be a scientist or have spent years and years at medical school to be able to look at the preponderance of evidence out there surrounding vaccines and draw your own conclusion that they are an essential part of medical care. But you do need to be able to read properly, to be able to understand numbers and to be able to pick apart ‘evidence’ and ask questions. I have no idea how we solve that issue because if people are unable to differentiate between fact and fiction, they will just go with what their ‘feelings’ tell them and once they have hitched their star to a particular wagon, it is next to impossible to use facts to pursuade them that they’re mistaken.

      • EEJIT

        Correct,For example how many people do you know that actually believe the movie “The Da Vinci Code” is fact,need I say more.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Ugh, seriously–tetanus comes from soil. Fucking dirt. We have plenty of dirt in the USA, it is not that rare, lady. We just haven’t had to worry about it because of vaccines!

      • shay simmons

        The demand for tetanus boosters spikes after tornadoes. Funny how increased exposure to the toxin makes it real.

    • sdsures

      She calls herself “Prof”?? Does she have the educational chops and actual degrees to back it up?

  • Sue

    That FB thread brought out all the anti-vax tropes, but no refutation at all to the basic facts that so many babies used to suffer or die of infectious diseases while being breast fed. Ideology trumps logic yet again.

    And who is “Prof”? Prof of WHAT? Can’t be any scientific area.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      I dunno, could be engineering

    • Amazed

      Self-aggrandizing at its best. I’ll be surprised if this fool even has a higher degree in ANYTHING.

      Like Jenny Hatch (check this one!) she must have awarded herself a professorship in her imaginary thinking world.

    • MI Dawn
    • RudyTooty

      Anyone else kind of bummed that they haven’t parachuted in on this post to defend their “thinking”?

      I mean, on one hand it was annoying, on the other, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. And I don’t even like guns. Or fish. But it was kind of fun.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I mean, on one hand it was annoying, on the other, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

        Whenever I hear “shooting fish in a barrel” for some reason, I always envision a speargun.

  • Cyndi

    “It’s NOT that we’re anti-vax; we’re SAFE vax!” Whatever.

    • Azuran

      And current vaccines are already the safest of all the existing medical tool.
      If you think vaccines aren’t safe enough, then you should never take ANY kind of medication or have ANY medical procedure. None of them are even close to being as safe as vaccines.
      So sorry, but claiming that you are for ‘Safe vax’ means nothing. You are uneducated and parroting anti-vaxxers lies, therefore you are anti-vax

      • Sue

        Yep. Yet another anti-vax trope.

        If ‘safe’ is defined as “100% safe”, then nothing in life meets the standard.

        • N

          We should also stop breathing then… Oh, but that would not be safe either.

      • Heather

        No joke. Drugs require repeat exposures and for many OTC pain relievers the therapeutic dose and the toxic dose are alarmingly close, especially if you’ve compromised your metabolic pathways with alcohol or concomitant medication. I do vaccine toxicology for a living….I never get what I’d call frank toxicity. The only safety risk is a hyper stimulated innate immune response and to get that I usually have to give ridiculous doses of adjuvant. I have only seen that once in over a decade, to be clear. Otherwise, we get some reactogenicity at the injection site that is itchy and swollen but causes no permanent changes. Maybe a temperature increase from cytokine activation, and a proliferation of various immune cells in the skin/muscle. None of this is adverse and means the vaccine is working.

        • sdsures

          Yep – paracetamol (acetaminophen) is one of the drugs that it’s frighteningly easy to accidentally kill yourself with, so the NHS guidelines here in the UK are very strict about how much you can buy in a single store. And if the poor person changes their mind after they’ve ingested the overdose, there’s nothing the ER can do.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    OT, but not really: I’m really going to have more fun with the conspiracy theorists as the Empress than I did as Demodocus, lol

    • shay simmons

      Your secret is safe, o mighty reptilian overlady.

  • Mel

    I find the whole elixir of life crap deeply ironic.

    Spawn – who is doing pretty well so far – is eating an absurd amount of breast milk that I’ve been able to provide*. Nevertheless, they do fortify the breast milk with all sorts of stuff to allow him to grow and they just added Vitamin D so his bones will mineralize correctly.

    It’s almost like breast milk alone isn’t perfect…..

    (*The lactation consultant assigned to me and I are avoiding each other like the plague. She tried to use me as an example of how pumping every 2 hours can allow a 26-week preemie mom who was recovering from HELLP can lead to copious milk production. Too bad I’ve never bothered pumping every two hours since I figured sleep was needed to recover and am very vocal about the facts that I come from a long line of overproducers and that my milk production goes UP when I sleep more than 5 hours between 10pm-6am. And yes, I have the data to support it.)

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      What kind of “tea” is that woman drinking? Avoid it. i didn’t need to feed my kid every two hours to have impressive over supply, either. Both my kids had a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep in the wee hours even as neonates.
      Glad Spawn’s doing well and that your choice in feeding is working for you!

    • moto_librarian

      Glad to hear that your little one is doing well. And yeah, that LC needs to fuck off.

    • BeatriceC

      I didn’t pump at all for the first three days of YK’s life. I was too damned sick and he was being fed TPN anyway. Yet halfway through day three my milk came in like the Three Gorges Dam bursting. It’s almost like my body knew it had a baby wether or not I pumped. For the record, my milk came in like that midway through day three for the other babies as well.

    • Tori

      I’m so glad he’s doing well!

    • Gæst

      My hospital LC also didn’t believe that I wasn’t following the pumping schedule she gave me for twins. She kept insisting I had to do more and more or I’d never hit the targets, even though I was trying to tell her I was already exceeding the targets, and that was with taking nights off to sleep since they were int he NICU.

    • AnnaPDE

      Sleep – it really helps with supply. Also, with general sanity. But heaven forbid a newborn is fed formula when they’re up and hungry at night and mum doesn’t have milk yet. No, that’s just lazy mum wanting to slack off.
      ETA Great to hear that Spawn’s doing well!

    • Sue

      Best wishes for Spawn’s continued thriving!

    • Amazed

      So happy to hear that Spawn Calf is doing so great!

    • Mishimoo

      So glad Spawn is doing well! Hope he continues in this manner and is home with you as soon as is safe.

    • Montserrat Blanco

      I am really glad Spawn is doing well!

    • sdsures

      Yay for Spawn! *ex-preemie fistbump*

  • Angela

    If I had to choose one to do, breastfeeding or vaccines, I would absolutely choose vaccines. That’s a no-brainer. Of course, you don’t have to choose (kind of like measles vs. autism, it’s a fake choice).

    We were at a funeral last weekend for my husband’s grandmother. She had her kids in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Someone mentioned that she had nursed one child through polio and another through whooping cough. I was thinking how grateful I was that we now how vaccines for these diseases. The child who had polio (my husband’s aunt) has a limp from it.

    My dad’s sister (my aunt) had measles and was one of the unlucky ones to get encephalitis from it. She was in a wheelchair from the age of 9 and almost died.

    Vaccine preventable diseases and the effects are still around. A real “thinking” mom gets her kids their shots.

    • Sean Jungian

      I’ve been doing some family history research and as I go back in time it becomes so obvious how things have changed.

      My family tree is literally littered with 2nd, 3rd, even 4th wives due to women dying young in childbirth. But what gets to me is seeing the dozens and dozens of babies each generation that never made it past 5 years old, some lived months, some lived a few years, but the majority died.

      I still find it hard to believe that people willingly turn their noses up at such lifesaving technology as vaccines but then again I never believed Trump would actually be elected, either.

      I feel like we’re headed into the Anti-Enlightenment era, a return to the Dark Ages of a sort. I’ve read that this is sort of an “extinction burst”, a last gasp of reactionaries to try to prevent change, but I just don’t know.

      So much superstition.

  • moto_librarian

    I am sick of selfish people, particularly when the main reason that their unvaccinated children do not get VPDs is precisely because the majority of us do the right thing and vaccinate our own children. My children are no longer babies, but I remember being very concerned about them being exposed to whooping cough as young infants. I continue to worry about newborns being exposed, so I make sure that everyone in my family (including me and my husband) stay up-to-date with boosters.

    I will also say this. It’s a sad day when strangers do more to protect a child’s health than its own parents. I hope that the children of these geniuses don’t wind up suffering from even a mild case of measles, whooping cough, or the mumps. Should they wind up with lifelong problems from complications of these diseases, don’t be surprised if they decide that they want nothing to do with you. By choosing not to vaccinate, you have failed your primary obligation as a parent: to keep your children safe and healthy.

    • RudyTooty

      Being that I work in healthcare, if they end up with complications from VPDs, they probably *will* want something to do with me, and the rest us providing modern medical care, because now it will be an actual problem for them and they’ll want (and feel entitled to) actual science-based medicine to fix it.

      Eff them. Eff them. Eff them.

      • moto_librarian

        And none of us would deny those children that medical care. But the fact that it wouldn’t be necessary at all if their parents actually gave a shit about their kids must be incredibly difficult to deal with.

        • RudyTooty

          They like modern medicine when they think it serves their needs.
          Pure selfishness.

          • Sean Jungian

            Many double-down on the woo, it seems – remember that Michigan woman who bragged about making her 3 children suffer through months of whooping cough? But it also seems like just as many follow the same ideals as NCB-ers – it’s all Evil Big Pharma until the shit hits the fan, then suddenly it’s life-saving medical intervention for the win.

          • moto_librarian

            She should be in jail. Anyone who would let their children suffer like that on purpose is pathological.

          • RudyTooty

            The anti-vaxxers and the homebirthers want it their way – their “superior” natural way – until they’re dying from it. Then they expect the red carpet to be rolled out for them when they grace the hospital with their superior presence.

            It’s a problem of combined ignorance and privilege.

            I’m speaking of my own. This was me. I was right in there with that whack-a-doodle crew.

          • Amazed

            The two German cases of SSPE almost made me howl with rage. So you don’t vaccinate your precious snowflake, then you rush him to the pediatrician’s office with symptoms that turn out to be bloody MEASLES, infect six babies too young for their shots, two of them DIE from the freaking time bomb that measles is – and you’re the thinking mom? You’re a freaking monster.

            I so wish unvaxxed by choice kids to be stopped from making it to the doctor’s waiting room if their symptoms resemble anything like an infectuous VPD. No, not because I wish to refuse them treatment. But when you make the choice to endanger everyone by not protecting your kid, you need to wait until the doctor can see you in a safe place. Tradeoff.

            ‘course, they don’t play fairly. They don’t want tradeoffs. They only want to take.

          • Heidi

            Definitely! When I worked at the hospital, any flu cases and we had to dress head to toe in protective gear, including an N95 face mask. Sure, most people don’t die of the flu but some do, especially those who are hospitalized and it’s highly contagious! Others deserve that kind of isolation and protection from these VPDs.

          • NinjaMama

            Our pediatrician does not take on patients whose parents refuse to sign an agreement to follow the vaccine schedule for this exact reason.

          • Sean Jungian

            I’m glad you’ve come around. It reminds me of the woman Dr. Amy posted about several months ago who complained because no one offered her snacks when she transferred to the hospital. So ridiculously privilege-blind you almost wonder if she’s being sarcastic.

          • RudyTooty

            I’m starting to feel the need to own up to my past ignorance to demonstrate that it’s possible wrest ourselves from it.

          • Sean Jungian

            I get it. Privilege is something I never really thought about, although I was aware in others on some level, mostly because I have lived below the poverty line. So when people make assumptions that EVERYONE has a washer & dryer and EVERYONE has this or that, I tended to notice it.

            I haven’t gotten entangled in any woo beliefs BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not blind to my own privilege in a lot of cases. I finally recognized it myself a couple of years ago and ever since then I feel I have to consciously examine my beliefs on things to be sure it isn’t just a knee-jerk reflex of my own various privileges.

            The thing is, for many of us, you tell us we’re “privileged” and we get all offended OH YOU DON’T KNOW ME YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH. That is what makes racism so difficult to talk about with the people I know who are Trumpists. Yes, you can have had a rough life, with very trying times, and still be part of a privileged group and not even realize it. They don’t even believe it is a “thing”.

          • RudyTooty

            No, privilege is not wealth. I think that’s where it gets confused.

            I had a big ah-ha moment when my white friends were bragging about not homeschooling their children, but UNschooling their children, which meant their children didn’t go to school, and they didn’t learn anything they didn’t want to learn.

            Uuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh. Need I spell out this privilege thing?

            People of color do not have the privilege to unschool. In fact, they’d probably risk having their children taken away from them.

            White people, with little wealth (or drive to do anything for that matter) can assume that their white children will be just fine in this world without them having to learn ANYTHING. Or at the very least, only learning the select things that interest them specifically.

            Learning to see white privilege is ongoing. But that one was a huge one for me. I was agog. At first it just seemed plain stupid. But then I saw the obscene arrogance & privilege of it.

            Yeah, need I say this was the anti-vax and homebirthing crowd, too? Need I say this? Probably not.

          • Azuran

            Well, actually I think wealth is one kind of privilege. But far from the only one.

          • RudyTooty

            I realize the way I wrote this might be triggering for some. I apologize. Pre-emptively.

            I should have said “a person with white skin” instead of “white people” so as to not offend.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            There’s a lot of class privilege involved in the unschooling mentality too–“unschooling” is going to work a lot better in a home with a lot of resources and cultural capital, with parents who have the time and energy to support their children’s interests and who have plenty of education themselves. Kids not getting a formal education benefit from the formal education of their parents. Not all families have the kind of home environment, education, financial means, working life etc. that would allow them to nurture Junior’s passion for the Viola de Gamba.

            Frankly, even when they do, it doesn’t solve the problem of gaps in knowledge. I was a very precocious and autodidactic child and I always had a lot of interests and a lot of motivation to try to teach myself things or otherwise learn them in informal settings–as long as they were things that interested me. When I was 12, I was self-studying Renaissance art history at a college level and I spent hours a day playing the piano and reading book after book–all kinds of “real literature” that parents want their kids to want to read. But there’s no way I’d have gone near algebra if nobody had made me. At the time, that would have been just fine by me, of course, because I was a kid, which is why it’s good to not let kids make all of their education decisions. And I say this as a person who actually is very supportive of student-led educational approaches and some non-traditional approaches to learning. Kids still need some structure and direction from adults because even curious and intelligent children are rarely naturally curious about everything they need to know and even intelligent children are better at some things than at others and need additional support (and sometimes additional pressure) for subjects in which they struggle more.

            But knowledge gaps are also a thing that unschooling parents don’t really have to worry about as much. They are usually white and middle class or upper class and they are savvy about what their kids need to get into college etc.–and they pass on their savvy to their kids. People who can talk the talk of middle and upper class professionals just don’t pay as hard for their weaknesses as people who can’t. They aren’t asked to prove themselves as hard. It’s going to be a lot easier for a kid from an affluent, educated home to get away with knowing no math than it is for a less fortunate kid. Though, even for that first kid, having severe knowledge gaps does have some consequences and can make their life unnecessarily difficult later on. Parents, make sure your kids learn what they need to learn, not just what they want to. Unschooling is just not enough.

          • Sean Jungian

            Someone else said it elswewhere in this thread, too, that here in the U.S. we put such an inflated value on “rugged individualism” that to declare someone privileged also implies they had help (which they did, even if it was in the form of having the game rigged in their favor and not necessarily “direct” help).

            To many put-upon whites, to imply that they didn’t achieve and obtain everything they have on their own and by their own effort is anathema.

            I happen to live in a very rural, agricultural red state area. The main complaint I hear from my (mostly white, mostly upper-middle-class, mostly Republican, mostly farmers) neighbors is the whole hatred of “the welfare state!” where lazy (usually code for POC) just don’t want to work and want to mooch off the government. The same claim is made by various groups against women as well as all people of color or immigrants.

            Yet they conveniently forget the MILLIONS in dollars in subsidies they receive from the government and for crop insurance. I have heard complaints that a family is no longer able to take 2 trips abroad per year anymore thanks to “that damn Obamacare” that has raised their health insurance premiums. They spend the entire winter in a warmer state. Yet they feel they earned that.

    • Sue

      “the main reason that their unvaccinated children do not get VPDs is precisely because the majority of us do the right thing and vaccinate our own children”

      Exactly!

      When she says “In today’s era, your child is FAR more likely to be healthy…” she really means “because everyone else vaccinates THEIR kids so mine are protected”. There. Fixed it.

  • guest

    Oh sure, “today” any single unvaccinated child has a very low risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, because the majority of us are vaccinating against them. I always wonder why the anti-vax crowd works against its own interest by trying to get more people to follow their practice. Their children are fairly safe only as long as the rest of us keep vaccinating. As soon as the scale starts tipping the other way, all of those diseases will come roaring back, except for smallpox, which will hopefully remain locked safely away in a research lab.

    • guest

      And none of that has anything to do with whether or not a child is breastfed.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I always wonder why the anti-vax crowd works against its own interest by trying to get more people to follow their practice.

      Note that Bob Sears is very familiar with that issue, and works to make sure it all happens. He knows that not vaccinating to a large extent will cost him.

      • guest

        It just makes his promulgation of these ideas worse, though, because he truly knows better.

      • Amazed

        But will it, truly? This far, he hasn’t even been reprimanded by his freaking professional organization for giving out SUCH a dangerous advice.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Not vaccinating to a too large extent, I mean.

          He needs to have the population of snowflakes that love him, but everyone else has to vaccinate or he will be exposed, so to speak

          • NinjaMama

            He literally tells them to ‘hide in the herd’.

    • Gæst

      Oh, and hey! I finally signed up for a Disqus account.

    • namaste863

      Hopefully Putin won’t get any bright ideas.

      • Gæst

        Indeed.

  • Heidi_storage

    What was really annoying about the TMR trolls’ descent yesterday was how dumb their responses were. “Yah, you’re so stupid, you put poison in yourself” was about the level of their posts. One expects that sort of thing from an attention-seeking preschooler who hasn’t been taught how to socialize properly.

    • RudyTooty

      It was more like “your so stupid.” But I catch your drift.

      • Heidi_storage

        Hey, you can give one person credit for using “you’re” correctly; that commenter then declared I was “over-waxxed,” however, and the rest of the comment wandered off into unintelligibility.

        • Young CC Prof

          Over-waxing could be a hazard on floors, not sure it’s much of a problem for people.

          • Sue

            Or a hazard for delicate skin. Ooouuuchhh!

    • kilda

      my favorite is how, when asked to cite sources, they always say some variation of “why should I waste my time, find the information yourself.” It always reminds me of an 8 year old saying “I totally know the answer but I’m not going to tell you.”

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Hey, come on. That one guy posted that Robert Kennedy, Jr, video over and over and kept referring to that textbook. What other references do you need?

        • moto_librarian

          That reminds me. I’m going to pitch a big bitch to Wiley about that garbage textbook.

      • Sarah

        That’s a favourite of some of our dimmer shit stirrers on here, too. Usually after they’ve spent most of the past day arguing on the internet already.

  • Amy M

    Scarlet fever? Sure, that plummeted thanks to the introduction of antibiotics. Do they realize that and are being disingenuous by including that graph, or do they not understand the differences between sanitation, antibiotics and vaccination?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      I suspect they haven’t a clue.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Isn’t typhoid one of the few that really is greatly reduced by sanitation?

    • J.B.

      Typhoid and cholera are probably the biggest sanitation related incidences. The typhoid decrease is generally attributed to the introduction of chlorine disinfection for drinking water.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Which, along with fluoridation, they also often oppose.

        • Who?

          The one that makes me crazy is people who think they should be able to buy raw milk to feed to their kids.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            And also that pregnant women should be knocking it back and that it can be used as a “natural” formula supplement.

            Yeah, they drive me crazy too.

          • Sean Jungian

            We have dairy farmers in our family and this just sounds like Russian roulette with 4 of the 6 chambers loaded.

          • RudyTooty

            Aaaarrrrgh.

            But raw milk is magical. The people drinking it told me so!

        • J.B.

          They are more vocal in the opposition to chloramines than chlorine, but yeah. Claim that increased sanitation reduces diseases so we don’t need to vaccinate, but we should take away the tools for sanitation.

          At the time that chlorine was first introduced there was a lot of anti-chemical sentiment and the chlorine addition was kind of a rebel action. Nothing is new really.

    • Heather

      Most of the fecal-oral transmission diseases are helped with sanitation. It’s why bacterial dysentery is rare in the US except when kids are in diapers and pass it around in day care settings, meanwhile in other regions it is a top cause of childhood diarrhea

  • Madtowngirl

    For some reason, I’m still in a mommy Facebook group that routinely has posts like, “I’m not sure about vaccinating my kid,” and inevitably this bullshit comes up in the comments. Yes, medical advances and better understanding of sanitation helped decrease the rate of diseases. But there is no question about the efficacy of vaccines in preventing these diseases. The science is settled on this. But because people don’t understand how drugs come to market, they flip out about side effects listed in the inserts, and put their faith in snake oil salesmen on the Internet. And the worst part is that they are proud of their ignorance.

    • Sue

      Not to mentiont that it is also the modern science of bacteriology, microbiology and infectious diseases that leads to better sanitation and disinfection.

      WHile some numpties continue to deny “germ theory”.

  • Heidi

    I’m having a hard time putting it into words, but this idea of “super hero moms” is really bugging me. I see headlines about breastfeeding like “Moms are super heroines!” (of course if you can’t breastfeed or don’t, you’re so not a heroine) or people calling themselves names like Warrior Mama or even Researching Mom, or Thinking Moms. Just ugh, ugh, ugh!

    • StephanieJR

      Would you like to see a cute picture of my bunny to calm down? I’m tempted to start posting them in response to trolls.

      • Heidi

        Sure.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        works for me! Here’s the Cookie Monster cake i made for my kid’s 2nd. Chockfull of chemikillz 😉
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d3c1ea78fdaa3354c85724d982d094021ba8cdd2ea542a6f309e6457b698cd2.jpg

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          We were decorating cookies the other day, and I was thinking, “Mmmmmmm, red dye…..”

        • Heidi

          How dare you give your baby chemikillz! My son’s birthday is Thursday. I ordered the old sheet cake with cool whip icing! I am super bad mom. His is Thomas the Train because he seems to enjoy it when it’s on TV. I let him watch TV, too!

        • Erin

          For my son’s first birthday I made a courgette and lemon cake with icing made green with spinach. In fairness, it wasn’t very much spinach to get the shade I wanted and I did stick a load of lemon to balance out the taste. It’s a cake I make a lot of for bake sales etc because it’s really light and slightly spicy but whenever I get asked to make it, they specify “no green icing”… the ungrateful wretches 🙁

          For his next birthday I think I’m doing a crocodile, made green with food colouring not spinach.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            ahhh! too many vegetables!! 😉 Actually, i quite like zucchini bread, which is probably pretty similar. (I had to look up “courgette” again, since we call ’em zucchini)

          • Erin

            I use zucchini in most things, it’s great for sneaking veggies into stuff, especially when grated.

            The “men” of the house claim to only like peas out of everything which is edible and green so finding ways of making them eat other green things without noticing has led to all sorts of inventive and sneaky cooking.

        • Angela

          Oreo cookies are some of the best chemicals I’ve ever had!

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            They seemed apropos

        • StephanieJR

          That looks awesome!

        • Amazed

          May I have some of these chemikills? Please, Your Grace? Pretty please, with a pink ribbon on top!

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Of course you may. You have been a very good minion this year

      • kilda

        bunny pics, please!

      • BeatriceC

        I could add parrot pictures if it becomes necessary.

        • StephanieJR

          Love to see some!

          • BeatriceC

            Since you asked…

            [URL=http://s301.photobucket.com/user/mmsw1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0771_zpso01frgww.jpg.html][IMG]http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0771_zpso01frgww.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

          • StephanieJR

            Is that a cookie? Do you also have a food thief? I can no longer share apples with Amy.

          • BeatriceC

            That is, in fact, a peanut butter cookie. And he goes crazy every time he spots them. (They are my guilty pleasure). I turned my head for ten seconds to tend to another bird and he scurried over to steal one. He was so proud of himself too.

          • StephanieJR

            They always are! Amy once tried to steal a glass of juice, with ice, from me. She literally bit the glass and tried to yank it. Spilled everywhere, but it was so funny!

          • BeatriceC

            [URL=http://s301.photobucket.com/user/mmsw1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0871_zpsm2hcslus.jpg.html][IMG]http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0871_zpsm2hcslus.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

          • BeatriceC

            [URL=http://s301.photobucket.com/user/mmsw1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0592_zpskq64f2nd.jpg.html][IMG]http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0592_zpskq64f2nd.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

          • BeatriceC

            [URL=http://s301.photobucket.com/user/mmsw1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0421_zpsgwb7mvwo.jpg.html][IMG]http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_0421_zpsgwb7mvwo.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            There’s a 1-winged, half nude chicken on your arm 😉

          • BeatriceC

            She’s showing off her good side. 🙂

          • Mishimoo

            Speaking of half-nude chickens, my bantam leghorn is broody again and has taken to chasing the weimaraners around the yard whenever I shoo her out of the coop.

          • Sean Jungian

            She? Is so pretty! I don’t have the patience for birds but I do love to look at them.

          • BeatriceC

            Thanks! Charlotte is my only girl. The other two birds are boys. And yes, they are certainly a lot of work and require a huge amount of patience. Charlotte more so than most, as she is disabled (missing wing), and poorly socialized prior to me taking her, which led to extreme aggression and a major plucking problem. Parrot rehabs can take years, and we’ve got a long way to go, but she’s made some great progress in the last five months.

          • StephanieJR

            Gorgeous!

        • Gæst
          • Amazed

            This reminds me of a funny picture I once saw. A dad’s idea of having fun alone with his baby. Since the baby’s slightly fluffy head did resemble a kiwi, he had a kiwi and the baby’s head next to each other, with kiwi labels on both.

          • StephanieJR

            Hee!

          • BeatriceC

            Squeeeeeeeee! He’s gorgeous.

          • StephanieJR

            Awww!

      • Sue

        Please do. “Brooke Elizabeth” might find them calming.

    • Madtowngirl

      I feel like it’s just another way to encourage mommy martyrdom.

      • The mommy martyrdom must end. Women are just as deserving of a satisfying career, and outside interests as men. The parenting sacrifice needs to be shared – or at least recognized as a choice that has been made freely.

        • Chi

          On this note, the Chancellor of one of New Zealand’s Universities is echoing this ‘biological essentialism’ view by saying that women vets are only worth 2/5ths of their equally educated male counterparts. Simply because apparently they only work in the industry for a few years before leaving it to have babies or some such shit.

          http://thespinoff.co.nz/science/13-12-2016/in-2016-the-massey-chancellor-says-women-vets-are-worth-two-fifths-of-men-and-we-wonder-why-there-are-too-few-women-in-science/

          Why does it HAVE to be the women giving up their career? Why can’t guys do it too?

          Ugh, fuck this mommy martyrdom.

          • BeatriceC

            One of my brothers-in-law is a stay at home daddy while my sister works full time. Her earning potential is many times his, so it makes the most sense for them. It’s not common, but it does happen.

          • Chi

            Oh I know it does and I am all for it. I just get pissed off at these old farts who seem to be entrenched in that 1950’s mindset of, ‘sure women CAN have a career but they need to give it up when they get pregnant’.

            I believe we need to stop using the term maternity leave and start calling it parental leave. Allowing either the mother or father to either claim it OR split it as works best for them.

    • guest

      I’m a Researching Mom. I do research, and then submit it to journals WHERE IT UNDERGOES RIGOROUS PEER REVIEW. Thinking moms, my ass.

      • Sue

        You do research, then, not “research”.

        It’s almost like they think that the concurrence of thinking and/or doing real research with motherhood is somehow unusual…

  • MI Dawn

    Oh, the good old “Drinking Moms”. Orac has had lots of fun with their posts over the years.

    • Sue

      Orac quote: “Basically, TMR is a wine loving, vaccine hating, coffee klatch of mommy warriors for whom the terms Dunning-Kruger effect and arrogance of ignorance were coined.”

  • RudyTooty

    “Indeed, Prof tried desperately to backpedal to cover the fact that she could find even a shred of evidence for her claim.

    ‘No one on this thread is discussing a particular scientific point, Amy, therefore there is no need to quote “relevant” studies…’

    Chortling.

    • Anj Fabian

      The evidence says….

      “Don’t be bringing your evidence around here. We don’t like your kind (of evidence)!”

    • Sarah

      Ha I know, they don’t seem to have realised that ‘we aren’t discussing scientific points so don’t quote actual evidence’ isn’t really an argument in their favour…